The very best of our county’s education sector have been recognised as the finalists of the EDP Education Awards 2023.

From support staff to the students themselves, the finalists of the EDP Education Awards 2023 are fantastic examples of our county’s education sector.

It was a tough job for our judges to narrow entries down to three finalists per category, and the winners will be announced at the celebration event at Barnham Broom Hotel on Thursday, October 12.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council is the largest provider of Further Education learning to adults in NorfolkNorfolk County Council is the largest provider of Further Education learning to adults in Norfolk (Image: Norfolk County Council)

We would like to say a big thank you to our headline sponsor Step Teachers, and all the category sponsors – we wouldn’t be able to give our finalists the recognition they deserve without them.

Here we reveal our finalists and find out what the nominators had to say about them:

Primary School of the Year

Sponsored by Norse Catering    

Bishops C of E Primary Academy

Staff at Bishops C of E Primary Academy work so hard to support each other, the children and their families. 

There is a kind, caring and supportive team of staff, many have worked at the school for well over a decade. 

For a school with a relatively high EAL, SEND and PP intake, the staff work above and beyond to cater to any and all children with extra needs as well as enhancing the learning for all pupils. 

Norwich High Prep School 

Everything at Norwich High Prep School is designed to bring out the best in girls, enabling them to feel safe and supported to step out of their comfort zones and stretch themselves. 

An already broad curriculum is further enhanced by a comprehensive Food Tech scheme of work and an award-winning STEM programme, designed to develop problem solving skills through practical, collaborative projects ranging from making marshmallow flinging catapults to coding earthquake detectors. 

Watlington Primary School

Watlington Primary School has come a long way since its new headteacher, Claire Chapman, started a year ago. 

Claire has shown great determination and passion to move the learning forward while showing commitment to the professional development of staff.

She has provided a happy place to work and learn and given the school and children a sense of community. She works tirelessly in her quest to make the school the best it can be and create lasting positive memories for all. 

Secondary School of the Year

Sponsored by City College Norwich

City of Norwich School

City of Norwich School (CNS) is a heavily oversubscribed secondary school that has served its community for 113 years. 

The school motto of ‘Excellence In All’ reflects its vision of achieving the highest standards in everything it does.

Its ethos is to be a truly inclusive school that supports the care and development of the whole individual, treating everyone respectfully and valuing the things that make us different as much as the things that bring us together.  

Norwich High School for Girls

A girls-first environment, warm community spirit and focus on wellbeing support enables Norwich High School for Girls students to be uniquely themselves. 

This ethos builds curiosity, confidence, ambition, determination and impressive resilience. Through a holistic and broad curriculum, the school follows its own “ACTIVE” approach to learning, designed to suit how girls learn. 

The approach is working. The school was named The Sunday Times East Anglian Independent Secondary School Of The Year in the 2023 Parent Power League. 

Open Academy

The Open Academy, Norwich, is at the heart of Heartsease, and its purpose is to provide a transformative education for the students in its community. 

Inspired by its Christian ethos, the school exists to develop every child, regardless of their beliefs and background. 

The school’s practice is driven by its values. It is committed to delivering a constantly improving education. Staff pride themselves on getting to know all students as individuals. 

Higher/Further Education Provider of the Year  

City of Norwich School Sixth Form

The 420 sixth formers at City of Norwich School (CNS) Sixth Form are fully integrated and act as role models to the 1,300 students in the lower school.

CNS truly values its sixth form and invests its resources in providing a broad curriculum of 33 different subjects. 

With teaching time well above the national average, CNS prides itself on being able to explore a depth and breadth that leads its students to become incredibly fluent in their subjects.

East Norfolk Sixth Form College

East Norfolk Sixth Form College, in Gorleston has a continual focus on raising ambitions for young people and the wider community in Great Yarmouth. 

East Norfolk has a total commitment to supporting young people in their next steps, whether through learning, personal or professional development. 

Staff are also supported with their wellbeing with free activities being made available at every inset day, including massage and reflexology to support the wellbeing of all.  

Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council is the largest provider of Further Education learning to adults in Norfolk.
Delivering to over 5,000 adults across Norfolk each year, it reaches out to residents who most need support. 

Learning is taken to the learners, delivered in libraries, community venues and at its new, dedicated training centres.  

It delivers qualifications, apprenticeships, non-accredited learning, including support for cost-of-living issues, health and wellbeing, family learning, and wider personal development opportunities.  

Apprentice of the Year     

Sponsored by Apprenticeships Norfolk    

Amelia Good – Moorelec Electrical Contractors Limited

As a female entering the construction industry, Amelia has faced the challenge head on and has worked hard to prove herself in all aspects of the job. 

Amelia has recently passed her electrical installation Level 3 AM2S exams with a distinction and her employers have been hugely impressed with her dedication and the positive customer feedback they receive after almost every job she works on, describing her as a “brilliant asset to our company”.  

Joshua Vivian – Kelling Hospital for Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust

Joshua was nominated because he is a “dedicated apprentice who always puts patient care first”. 

Working towards a Level 2 healthcare support worker qualification, Joshua has had to overcome some personal challenges as he has Asperger’s, ADHD and cerebral palsy. 

However, Joshua uses this to his advantage. He is open to talking about having Asperger’s and feels this helps to determine better ways of learning for him.

Yuliia Vasylenko – Chadwicks

Yuliia Vasylenko joined Chadwicks as a part-time marketing assistant in May 2022 when she was displaced from war torn Ukraine along with her mother and eight-year-old son. 

She very quickly became a valued team member, showing a strong work ethic, commitment to the company and has an organised and diligent approach to her tasks. 

Yuliia is keen to expand her knowledge and qualifications and is currently completing a Level 4 PR and communications assistant apprenticeship.

Teacher of the Year     

Sponsored by Teach    

Belinda Laybourne – East Norfolk Sixth Form College

Belinda Laybourne is described as “a ray of sunshine who inspires and motivates everyone around her”. 

Belinda joined East Norfolk Sixth Form College in September 2021 as a bursary trainee teacher of science, and was appointed as a full-time permanent teacher of science in September 2022, seamlessly moving from trainee to teacher. 

Developing her resources and sharing those more widely has been one of her key strengths. She is a strong team player and always seeks to motivate her colleagues and students.  

Danny Sweatman – Aylsham High School

Danny Sweatman is the head of nurture provision at Aylsham High School. During the pandemic, to embellish the curriculum during this unprecedented period, he engaged the Countryside Alliance – Fishing for Schools programme and collectively they devised and delivered the Angling Skills Activity Award. 

It was so successful that it subsequently became part of the nurture group curriculum. To date 75 students have undergone the course, which is now a formal qualification, with an advanced level for students from Years 9 and 10. 

Karen Lea – Peterhouse Church of England Primary Academy

Karen has worked at Peterhouse Church of England Primary Academy for six years and her love for teaching and nurturing support for the children shines through.  

She works tirelessly and always goes above and beyond for the children in her class. 

Karen is described as having amazing motivation to her job and is always researching how to inspire children, especially when it comes to promoting reading and the importance of reading 
at home.

Outstanding Commitment to Students     

Sponsored by Norfolk Teacher Training Centre    

Joe Harkness – Cromer Academy

Joe is approachable and relatable and has the ability to engage young people and put them at ease. If students are struggling or withdrawn, he engages them with learning opportunities and ensures they feel safe and have connections at school. 

Joe listens, he has a fantastic understanding of mental health and emotional wellbeing and has created a space in which young people can feel relaxed in an often hugely overwhelming secondary school environment. 

Nick O’Brien – Dereham Neatherd High School

Nick is not only incredibly supportive to students, he also provides fantastic support to parents. 
Nick leads the SEND team to support students through their high school journey.

He is committed to ensuring all students have an equal voice regardless of their ability/neurodiversity and he strives to ensure that the school provides an inclusive and supportive environment. 

Together with the SEND team, Nick forms great partnerships with parents.

Scott Mynett – Easton College

Scott initially volunteered to put on the odd games club at Easton college, which subsequently became a regular lunchtime commitment every day of the week and provides a welcome break-out area for a range of students across the whole campus. 

Scott’s enthusiasm for gaming and the atmosphere he has created has been vital to so many students who enjoy having somewhere secure to go to just chill, re-set their brain cells and have some fun after a hard lesson. 

Student of the Year     

Mabel Lea – City of Norwich School

Mabel finished her A-levels at the City of Norwich School this summer. She made a phenomenal difference to the community at CNS and the school wanted to celebrate all that she has accomplished, and given, in nominating her for this award.   

Mabel was a very positive, relatable and modest student who grasped and sought opportunity. The strength of her academic prowess was balanced with hours of dedication to her friends, the school and her leadership within it. 

Max Cawston – St Clements High School

Max is a conscientious Year 8 student in regard to his own learning and his interaction with those around him. 

This year, Max entered the Rotary Young Writer 2023 competition with a poem he’d written for his Grandad, inspired by his bereavement, and he was awarded the district intermediate winner. 

Max has also raised money for a dementia charity and volunteers at a dementia cafe.  
His eagerness to learn and love of finding out new knowledge makes him a pleasure to teach.   

Shadrak Mushengezi – Open Academy

Shadrak is described as an “unbelievably exceptional student”. He came to the UK from Congo, where he had a difficult start to life. His brother has a rare heart condition, and his mother also has health issues, meaning he has been a young carer for most of his life.  

All of these experiences have given him the passion to pursue a degree in medicine, which he started this year at Swansea University. 

Shadrak has also captained the high school football team to victory, represented England at the Gothia Cup in Sweeden, broken the Norfolk 200m record and won The Platten Plate for demonstrating school core values. He was also, unsurprisingly, head boy.  

Outstanding Commitment to Sport     

Sponsored by Centre of Excellence for Sport, Outdoor Leadership and Uniformed Services at Easton College    

Athletics Norfolk

Athletics Norfolk works strategically with key partners to develop the sport of athletics, including track and field, road running, cross country and disability athletics.

A big part of this is working with schools and delivering additional programmes, such as Quadkids, which is offered at five venues around the county for U11 and U13s, covering the core disciplines of running, jumping and throwing. 

It also organises a two-day county championship, school championships and open meetings throughout the year.

The Nest

Located in Horsford, The Nest is the Community Sports Foundation’s hub. It is a fantastic sporting facility that hosts groups for all ages, encouraging everyone to get into sport. 

The 22-acre site has a range of facilities including a floodlit 3G pitch and high-quality grass football pitches.

The options include kids’ football courses, walking football, group exercise classes and free mental wellbeing focused running groups.

Wymondham High Academy 

Wymondham High Academy has established a sports department that promotes opportunity, equality and aspirational ideas. 

Its ethos encourages students to participate at all levels and try different activities, regularly having high numbers of attendance to sports clubs. 

The school also promotes aspirational ideas by inviting professional athletes to talk to and coach students. This has proved hugely popular, allowing students to focus on their own commitment to sport. 

Outstanding Commitment to STEM     

East Norfolk Sixth Form College

East Norfolk Sixth Form College has implemented a “flipped learning” approach to its teaching of A-Level chemistry and physics. It involves students reading up and making notes on topics prior to each lesson, allowing more time for teacher intervention and support.

Over 200 students at the college study A-Level maths and it has one of the largest core maths cohorts in the region. 

It is also involved in a “Levelling-Up” mentoring scheme in partnership with UEA, where some A-Level students attend fortnightly small-group tutoring sessions led by maths undergraduate students. 

Springwood High School

Springwood High School runs a STEM club targeting students of all abilities. Typically, more than 100 students take part in extracurricular STEM activities that highlight the wide variety of STEM careers. 

Parental feedback has told the school that this work is having a positive impact on students’ self-esteem, sense of belonging and confidence, which in turn promotes more involvement in STEM clubs and activities. 

The school was also awarded the Gold level STEM Clubs Quality Mark this academic year.  

University Technical College Norfolk

University Technical College Norfolk (UTCN) is an exciting school created to develop tomorrow’s science, health and engineering professionals. UTCN provides a comprehensive educational foundation for any student who has an interest in health, engineering, science, technology, maths or computing. 

UTCN’s ethos and curriculum is heavily supported by local and national STEM employers who also provide work experience for students to reinforce the skills developed while studying at the school.  

The school has become extremely popular in recent years with nearly three students applying for every available place. 

Outstanding Commitment to SEND     

Aylsham High School

During the pandemic, Aylsham High School took the decision to invite year seven nurture students to attend the school setting, considering the vulnerabilities and implications that the wider global circumstances were having. 

These students have special educational needs, learning difficulties or are otherwise vulnerable due to attention deficit or anxiety barriers to learning. 

As well as this the school has also produced a Fishing for Schools programme and worked to devise and deliver the Angling Skills Activity Award.

Elaine Dale – City College Norwich

Elaine Dale goes over and above to advocate for all those with SEND, not only the students but staff, too.  

Her passion to share good practice nationally is evident in the amount of visits and webinars she presents as one of only three colleges recognised as a Centre for Excellence in SpecialEducational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).  

She has developed a toolkit to inform and support employers, staff and students to understand more about working with and making adjustments for young people with SEND so that they can reach their full potential. 

The Clare School

The Clare School is a complex needs school for 121 pupils with sensory, physical and medical disabilities.  

Its vision is to aspire for every pupil to become as independent as possible; to communicate in a meaningful way and to be as happy, healthy and safe as possible.  

The school celebrates success at every opportunity, aiming to enable all pupils to reach their individual potential.  

It endeavours to provide a fully personalised academic curriculum to meet the needs of every pupil and works tirelessly to support them to achieve their goals.  

Teaching Assistant or Support Staff of the Year     

Sponsored by Vattenfall

Joanna Rowe – Framlingham Earl High School

Joanna has a genuine love for her job and for the children under her care. As a librarian at Framlingham Earl High School for 20 years, she has she helped a generation of young people learn to enjoy reading.

Joanna goes above and beyond every day in her role to support some of the school’s loneliest and most vulnerable students. She provides a safe space for them during school hours and is a friendly, trusted and reliable face. 

Teresa Grix – St William’s Primary School

Teresa has worked at St William’s Primary School for over 27 years, initially as a class-based teaching assistant and, for the last eight years, as a pastoral support worker. 

She has high aspirations for all children, building strong relationships with them to support their academic progress and their social and emotional development. 

Teresa retired at the end of the summer term, and the school couldn’t think of a better way to say goodbye and thank you than to nominate her for this award. 

Tizzy Sturdy – Easton College Norwich

Tizzy works at Easton College as a learning support assistant. She came to the role a few years ago, having worked mainly in industry prior to this. 

Tizzy has thrown herself into the role and is passionate about all students but particularly those that she supports in the classroom.

 The commitment shown extends beyond normal working hours and the immediate working environment to ensure that students get the best support possible both academically and emotionally.

Overall Education Hero of the Year 

Sponsored by Step Teachers

The Overall Education Hero of the Year will be selected by the judges from the winners of the other categories.

The winner will exemplify an outstanding commitment to learning, students and teachers as well as the wider community – showcasing the dedication, innovation and passion shown throughout the sector.

The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony.

Eastern Daily Press: Claire Chapman (centre) took over as headteacher at Watlingham Primary School a year ago and has worked tirelessly in her quest to make the school the best it can be Claire Chapman (centre) took over as headteacher at Watlingham Primary School a year ago and has worked tirelessly in her quest to make the school the best it can be (Image: Watlingham Primary School)